2019 Summer School in Russian and Eurasian Studies (SSRES) at Nazarbayev University

SSRES at Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan is an intensive academic program that offers students the chance to immerse themselves in the Russian or Kazakh languages and to experience Kazakh and post-Soviet culture in the heart of Eurasia.

In 2019, SSRES will offer an 8-week program (equivalent to one academic year of study): June 3 – July 31

June 3 – Students arrive in Astana. Orientation
June 4 – Proficiency testing and course placement. Cultural program starts
June 5 – Classes start
July 26 – Last day of classes
July 28-30 – Final exams and exit proficiency testing
July 31 – Students leave Astana

The main component of SSRES 2019 will be intensive courses in Russian or Kazakh, offering the equivalent of a full academic year (8-weeks) of in-class instruction in all aspects of the language.

Language courses at SSRES are taught using the communicative method of instruction through linguistic and cultural immersion. Students are placed into appropriate groups, according to their levels of proficiency (as defined in ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines). Courses are taught by professionals, trained in current methodologies and experienced in teaching international students.

Student Tutors

In addition to attending regular office hours held by instructors, students will be able to practice their conversational Russian and Kazakh skills and get additional support from bilingual student tutors.

For students of Russian, SSRES 2019 also offers a free, non-credit-bearing, course “Practical Cultural Kazakh.”

Eurasian Studies Lecture Series

Designed to be broad in focus and accessible to general audiences, lectures on topics related to the culture, history, politics and literature of Kazakhstan are given by the Nazarbayev University professors who introduce students to the most current research in their fields. The Lecture Series is open to the SSRES 2019 participants, as well as to the NU community, including students and faculty.

The list of the lectures for 2019 will be announced in advance.

Eurasian Studies Lecture Series for SSRES 2018 included the following presentations:

Daniel Scarborough “Ethnic Deportations to Kazakhstan and WWII”

Hélène Thibault “Gender Issues in Central Asia”

Gabriel McGuire “Kazakh Folktales and Folklore: Genres, Themes, and Characters”

Alima Bissenova “Fitting into a Secular Society: The Discreet Charm of Kazakhstani Muslim Entrepreneurs”

Daniel Beben “History of Islam in Kazakhstan”

Alexei Trochev “Dealing with Victims of Stalin’s Terror in Kazakhstan”

Caress Schenk “Labor Migration in Kazakhstan and the Eurasian Region”

Nikolay Tsyrempilov “Devils in the Flesh: The Dzunghars and Their Legacy in Kazakhstan”

Zohra Ismail Beben “Environmental Problems in Central Asia”

Ulan Bigozhin “Reinstitution of Tradition: The Kokpar Game in Contemporary Kazakhstan”

Uli Schamiloglu “The New Kazakh Latin Alphabet: Perspectives and Problems”

Student Life

Our program is unique in that it fosters close contact with local NU students. The tutoring program, housing arrangements, and cultural programming all enable SSRES students to feel at home in Astana and forge lasting international friendships, from the time when they are met at the airport their departure at the end of the program.

SSRES 2018 students participated in wide range of activities organized by NU students, including:

  • Dombra lessons
  • Astana city scavenger hunt
  • Ultimate Frisbee competition
  • Talent shows
  • SSRES choir
  • Karaoke

International students live on campus where they share dormitory rooms with NU students, who speak both Russian and Kazakh. A typical room has two beds, two study desks, closets, and a bathroom. Students living in the dormitory also have access to fully-equipped kitchens.

Our modern and well-maintained campus contains everything students need, including a pharmacy, laundry facilities, cafeteria, hair salon, study rooms, cafes, restaurants, and more. The buildings are fully guarded and secured with 24/7 resident assistance.

For information on program fees, please see our website: http://shss.nu.edu.kz/shss/academics/ssres.


 SSRES 2019 is open to graduate and undergraduate students as well as to working professionals. Students must be eligible to obtain a visa to live and study in Kazakhstan. Nazarbayev University will provide visa information and support (included in the cost of the program).

For application information, please see: https://shss.nu.edu.kz/academics/summer-school-russian-eurasian-studies

We run our summer program in conjunction with the University of Arizona, who provides transcripts and additional support for students, including health insurance and pre-departure orientation. As a rule, US students are encouraged to apply through the University of Arizona. Their website is: https://global.arizona.edu/study-abroad/program/arizona-kazakhstan

We accept FLAS and most other scholarships.

Deadline for applications is March 1, 2019

Questions about the program should be addressed to: Amanda Murphy, Program Director (amanda.murphy@nu.edu.kz)